After returning from the front lines in Ukraine, Russian servicemen were assaulted, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.
An inquiry committee said in a Telegram post that one soldier was struck with a baton after a crowd of drunk migrants assaulted two young men who had been demobilized from the front line.
The committee said on Monday that it was initiating criminal proceedings against three individuals for “acts of hooliganism” after they assaulted the Russian military in Chelyabinsk on New Year’s Eve. The individuals were reportedly Russian migrants, according to local media.
As news of the enormous detentions that took place around Russia on New Year’s Eve—including the detention of over 3,000 migrants in St. Petersburg—broke, the incident occurred.
Reports surfaced in August suggesting that Russian-citizen migrant laborers were being picked up for the conflict with Ukraine, which started with Russia’s invasion of the country on February 24, 2022.
Decrees allegedly enacted by Russian President Vladimir Putin seek to recruit foreign nationals holding Russian passports to fight for Putin in Russia and the conflict in Ukraine. Foreign nationals serving in his military during the battle in the adjacent country may gain Russian citizenship more efficiently, according to a rule issued in March 2023.
Russia has been “exploiting foreign nationals” to increase its workforce in Ukraine despite increasing deaths, according to a September intelligence report from the British Defense Ministry on the conflict in that country.
Moscow is probably using this strategy because Putin wants to avoid implementing more unpopular internal mobilization measures before the 2024 presidential elections, according to the ministry.
Political economist Konstantin Sonin, who was born in Russia but now lives in Chicago, has said that Putin will probably not announce a large-scale mobilization because he and his entourage are pushing the propaganda narrative that Russia is not fighting a war but rather a limited-scale military operation.
According to Sonin, Putin will continue to declare that nothing new is occurring, even if he tries to recruit additional soldiers for the war.